Dec 31, 2020

Best electronic albums of 2020: a steady special mention, special mention, special mention

special mention moby fat roland electronic albums of 2020
Throughout this countdown, I have herded many albums into a pen labelled "special mentions". Here is the final lot of special mentions for you to ogle longingly at. Oh and my notebook tells me the following selections are labelled "pop / chart".

I've always had a soft spot for Moby, and although it got mixed reviews, I enjoyed All Visible Objects (Mute), especially its nod to his younger rave days. Speaking of feeling young, there was a fresh energy to Disclosure's third album Energy (Island), all chart-friendly and chirpy and cheesy smiles. 

I've never fully got Sparks: the quirkiness is lost on me. That said, there was a lot to admire in A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip (BMG), with my Electronic Sound review praising their wryness, lyricism and "earworms with moustaches". Another duo I got to review in 2020 was Erasure. Their eighteenth (!) album The Neon (Mute) was a "glittery cannon of anthems", in which the "neon flickers with regret".

I always love a Pet Shop Boys album. Early in the year, they released Hotspot (x2), revisiting subtler melodies and giving us the prophetic stay-at-home anthem I Don't Wanna. Nice to see Years & Years making an appearance (the band not the television programme) (obviously) (duh).

Another bunch of old party-heads releasing an album in 2020 was The Orb. Abolition of the Royal Familia (Cooking Vinyl) was a likeable jumble of soulful pop and dubby ambience, and featured the usual gang (Eno! Youth! Hillage!) alongside tributes to Stephen Hawking and Jello from the Dead Kennedys. This was, by the way, only their seventeenth album. I can hear Erasure's mocking laughter.

Finally, pop-pickers, there's this wacky pairing. Eccentric knob-twiddler and Sigur Ros collaborator Dan Deacon gave us Mystic Familiar (Domino Recordings), his first album since 2015. It had DIY songwriting, crashing drums, wonky electronics, and an anthem or three. And eccentric sample-fiddlers The Avalanches were back with We Will Always Love You (Astralwerks), which they said was an “exploration of the vibrational relationship between light, sound and spirit” although was much more straight-laced than that.

I think that's it for my special mentions. I've probably missed something. Tom Vek did an album, didn't he? Too late. I need to publish this in about 60 seconds. I really am writing to deadline – cor blimey.


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